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All kneel and pause

by davesandel on April 1st, 2012

Sunday April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Mark 15:38-39

Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.  The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.  When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

These verses are the last in a long set of wonderful readings for Palm Sunday.  When Jesus “gives a loud cry and breathes his last,” the instructions say, Here all kneel and pause for a short time.”

In the movies there is a groundswell of music mixed with thunder.  We look up from our kneeling positions and see the threatening sky.  Then in the deepest and most holy place of the temple, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept, where no one goes except the high priest at very special times, a purple curtain – thick and perfect and private – is ripped apart by an unseen hand.  Just as the Red Sea parted, so does the curtain, the curtain which until now has protected the Jewish people from the unpredictable power of the holiness of God.

Perhaps we cannot see him.  But Jesus pushes aside the curtain and walks through.  No longer do we need protection.  What happened today has changed all that forever.  He turns around and beckons us.  Come.

We read this story on Palm Sunday and ask God for his presence during the week before Easter.  Jesus walks ahead of us, receiving praise today, preparing to die tomorrow.  His prayers soon will become so intense that he bleeds through his skin.  Everything that has happened in his life ripens now, culminates now, in this place, at this time.

We are forever blessed, and forever led into the path of the cross, and there is no time like the present to say yes and trudge toward Jesus, following him through rocky, hilly streets to Golgotha.

Not forsaken but blessed I am, Lord, even in this dark night.  Even in my cries of anguish I know you brought me out of the womb, you created me to trust in you.  When trouble is near, when I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint, you will rescue and save me, and I will declare your name: “Praise him!  Honor him!  Revere him!”  My heart has turned to wax and melted within me, but you do not despise or scorn the suffering of your afflicted one.  I am laid in the dust of death, and dogs surround me, but you do not hide your face from me, you listen to my cry for help.  All my bones are on display and my murderers divide my clothes among them, but I will proclaim your righteousness.  I will declare to a people yet unborn, “It is finished.  You have done it!”  (see Psalm 22)

http://christiancounselingservice.com/archived_devotions.php?article_id=1059

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